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Student Voices Project

Our fifth annual Student Voices Project brought in writing from 168 middle and high school students representing six U.S. Friends schools. We selected 20 honorees whose submissions are featured here. However, due to space limitations in our print issue, we’re unable to showcase all honoree submissions in their entirety. Some have been excerpted on the following pages with the rest of each story appearing in our online edition available at Friendsjournal​.org, where you can also see a full list of all 168 participants. This year’s prompt:

Tell us a story about how one of the Quaker testimonies was made real t you in your life. We’re looking for true tales that involve you somehow and illustrate how a testimony went from abstract concept to real‐life presence.

Also:

  • Center Yourself My journey through my Quaker faith and education all started in nursery school. I went to a small Quaker nursery school. It’s the kind of place where I sat on my teacher’s lap, and the room was filled with worn wooden blocks with a certain cozy smell I can still remember. There’s a beautiful meetinghouse …
  • Our D.C. Family Signs passed by as we continued to drive on the bumpy road. It was a dreary, dark, foggy day. The weather seemed to relate to the type of day we were soon going to have. The lightly tinted windows were open, and I could feel the spring breeze. Cars honked, and lights changed. The silence …
  • To Build Is to Love The stairs to the vast, rustic house creaked as I lugged my teal trunk up the steps. The bright sunlight emanated onto the thick wooden bunks, creating lines of radiance. Duffle bags and suitcases lined the perimeter of the room. Feelings of doubt crossed my mind, and I looked at my parents with big, worried …
  • Comfort in Diversity This is my first year at Westtown School. I am a proud Christian who goes to church and worships God. At my church we sing, dance, cry, and mostly make noise! I am comfortable in this environment because in my culture, we recognize that God deserves all the praise. This is a strong aspect of …
  • All Teammates Deserve Respect Five years ago, I tried out for a new hockey team. When I walked through the glass doors of the ice rink for tryouts, I saw a girl trying out for the same team. I instantly recognized her as I had played against her in years past; I knew she was a tough competitor. In …
  • Finding My Community I grew up going to a Quaker meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. I never truly liked going to meeting because it always felt way too long. My family and I moved to Pennsylvania about four years ago, and we continued to attend Quaker meeting. One day my mom told me I was going on a …
  • From the Circus to the Community “So, Rosie … do you want to go to the Ringling Brothers Circus for their final show?” my dad asks happily. “Of course, I would love to go! Can you tell me why you’ve always loved it so much?” I ask, thinking he might not tell me. “Sure,” he says. “Well, I proposed to your mom there. …
  • Community or Competition I shakily stepped out of the car. I had to grip the door for support. Even though it was a calm, sunny day, I was freaking out. Carefully I pulled my ice skating bags out of the car. I could’ve sworn the bags had gotten heavier. I slowly walked into the rink and started to …
  • Family Is Family I am adopted. Both my mom and my dad are white. Both of my sisters are also white. My brother and I are from Ethiopia, and we have brown skin. I love my parents, my sisters, and my brother. Even though we don’t all look the same, we’re still a family. I live in the …
  • Would You Still Love Me If I Were a Boy? I remember the night I told my mom I wasn’t exactly a girl. I was so worried about telling her. I can’t talk to my parents about regular things much less something this close to my heart. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. I considered not telling her. I considered running back to …
  • The Imaginary Box I was different in third grade. Some of my classmates thought antagonizing me was cool; they used it as a badge of social acceptance. I saw many of them as complicit when they witnessed my antagonization. While it only happened occasionally, it stuck with me. What I’ve found to be true is that the people …
  • The Art of Loving Yourself “I love myself.” I speak into the mirror, my voice cracks into a barely audible whisper, the embarrassment squeaking through just ever so slightly. I am close enough to see all my pores, all the smeared residue of makeup, all the bumps and edges of my skin. I can see all of the tiny lines, blemishes, …
  • Different Opinions, Same Community Last year I attended an all‐girls school in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This school’s community consisted of some diversity geographically, but most of the girls were the same racially and economically. Sometimes it was hard for the students to accept views different from their own because they were not open‐minded or they were not able to comprehend …
  • Teaching Equality When I was about three years old, my family hired a babysitter named Chelsea. Chelsea was quite the culture shock for my white, “Hi, we’re the Griswolds!” family. My sister and I were quickly swept up in Chelsea’s sea of musical talent, sewing, crazy personality, and general affection. We hung around her like thirsty puppies, …
  • Finding Simplicity in My Life As many people’s lives become more cluttered with events and activities, we become more and more reliant on physical items. I spend a large amount of time thinking about this during the summer. My family spends about a month on Southport Island in Maine. We stay in a cottage that my dad’s grandparents purchased during …
  • The Realization Simplicity is something that everyone needs. It’s something that makes life easier. It made my life easier. It adds a glow and a breath of fresh air to our world. But the strange thing about this is that if you don’t have simplicity in your life, you aren’t properly cared for. That is what happened …
  • Peacefulness in a Chaotic World Peacefulness has been a common theme throughout my life and my journeys. My mother and father have been through so much growing up under Israeli occupation in the West Bank. Many of my dad’s friends have been imprisoned during the occupation, and many have died from the military violence and shootings that occur. Still my …
  • Stewardship Brought to the Streets of Our Capital I’ve been surrounded by Quakerism since I was about three years old. From preschool through fifth grade, I attended Goshen Friends School. Then I started attending Westtown School, another Quaker private school, where I’m currently in ninth grade. Quaker values and SPICES were always integrated into both of my schools’ curriculums. At Westtown, I attend …
  • Soft Soap and Doom “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” —C.S. Lewis My breath was icy and gave off white puffs in the air. The wind was like …
  • A Simple, Silent Moment Our feet danced in an inch of water, and the wooden benches beneath us were worn from use and age. Anchored in the middle of the lake, my grandpa and I sat in the rowboat that had first belonged to my great‐grandfather prior to his death. The boat’s blue paint was chipped and its hull …
  • Student Voices Project 2018 Participants A full list of students who submitted for the 2017–2018 project.

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